Bruce Richard Reynolds was born on 7 September 1931 at Charing Cross Hospital , Strand, London , to Thomas Richard and Dorothy Margaret (née Keen). His mother died in 1935, and he had trouble living with his father and stepmother, so he often stayed with one or other of his grandmothers. Reynolds was jailed for three years on several counts of breaking and entering, and upon his release quickly started re-offending. He soon joined a gang with best friend John Daly (future brother-in-law). They were mentored by South Western gang leaders Ernie Watts and Terry Hogan (AKA Harry Booth). Also he did some (criminal?) work with Jimmy White and met Buster Edwards at Charlie Richardson 's club. Richardson in turn introduced him to Gordon Goody. 
In "The Major Adams Story" it is explained that Seth Adams had commanded a militia group (apparently in Philadelphia) and they enlisted en masse in the Union Army in 1861, that Bill Hawks was Sergeant to Major Adams and that Wooster was a late enlistment as a private (in various episodes it's mentioned that their regiment was under Generals William Tecumseh Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant ). However, a different story in "The Colter Craven Story" (season 4), we are told that in 1860 Adams and Hawks were partners in a lumber enterprise in Galena, Illinois, and on the eve of the Civil War, Adams headed up the 2nd Illinois Volunteers - although without a bit of military knowledge - and was given guidance by old friend "Sam", then a resigned former captain and a civilian but subsequently General of the Army . Grant, who - encountering Adams again after the battle of Shiloh (April 1862) - gave him a battlefield promotion from Lieutenant to Major (in "The Colter Craven Story", Season 4, episode 9, broadcast November 23, 1960). In "The Willy Moran Story" it is mentioned that Major Adams fought in the Battle of Gettysburg.